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Black Bean Chicken Burger with Grilled Sweet Onions and Pimientos

This burger is a perfect melding of Cuban flavors with an all-American classic, a burger. It represents who I am…a Cuban-American female who has lived in Miami all her life. Growing up as an American, yet whose culture and language are so alive in South Florida, makes it almost second nature to incorporate Cuban flavors in my cooking. My three children can very well ask for Macaroni and Cheese for dinner on one night, and Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice) another night. I love who I am, and want to impart that same love for our culture and respect for the country where I live to my children. Cooking is the best way I know how!

The ingredients in this burger, black beans, pimientos and guava, are all typically found in Cuban cuisine. I incorporated the guava paste because I have always loved its sweet, yet smooth texture. Guava is a popular ingredient in Cuban pastries, called pastelitos, and it's usually paired with cream cheese. I wanted to incorporate this sweet flavor in a burger. How unexpected in a burger! Equally surprising is the unexpectedness of Miami.


Guava Ketchup

1/4 cup ketchup
8 oz. guava paste, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Grilled Sweet Onions and Pimientos

1 large sweet onion, cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices
3 whole red, pimientos
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Chicken Patties

2 pounds of ground chicken
1 cup of canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cracker meal (or finely crushed, unsalted crackers)
1 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 large garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 Kaiser rolls, split
6 romaine lettuce leaves



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the guava ketchup: On grill or grill side burner (if using gas grill), place a medium size saucepan and heat to medium-high. Once pan is hot, place all ingredients, cover, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 2-3 minutes and then reduce heat to medium. Stir ingredients occasionally. Cook until guava ketchup is smooth with no lumps, about 10- 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.

To prepare the vegetables: In a medium bowl, toss onions and pimientos with oil, salt and pepper.

To prepare the chicken patties: In a large bowl, combine the patty ingredients until well incorporated. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into round patties.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with oil. Place the vegetables on the outer edges of the grill rack. Grill until soft and grill marks are visible on each side, about 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, place on sheet of foil, and wrap.

Place the patties on the center of the grill rack. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side. During the last minutes of grilling, arrange the buns, cut side down, around edges of the grill to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers: Spread 1 tablespoon of guava ketchup on bun bottom. Place lettuce on bun bottom, top with patty. Top patty with onions and pimientos. Spread 1 tablespoon of guava ketchup on bun tops and place on patties. Delicioso!

Makes 6 six burgers


This burger is an explosion of flavors, the heat from the pepper, the smoothness from the black beans, and the sweetness from the guava. Enjoy a taste of Miami!